Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thomas Pynchon

Let me confess: I've never read any Pynchon book, but continuously read a lot of stuff about him. As an idiosyncratic novelist who does not observe any rule of writing, who does not care about his readership, and who is reclusive in the real sense of the term, Pynchon is simply irresistible to me. In his
review in VQR William Logan has some interesting observations:

Intelligence makes Against the Day bearable, though everywhere it creates its own rules, undermines its own gravitas; in this it already satisfies the first condition of a classic: a novel we appreciate because of its flaws (the second condition is longevity). As an artist of paranoia, that American state of mind occupying the space between New York and California, Pynchon is the comic opposite of Kafka, whose Weltanschauung he otherwise embraces—a world of conspiracy and liminal terror, of shadow worlds that lie beneath real ones. Paranoia is the limiting climate in fiction, as depression is the limiting climate in depressives—if everything is a conspiracy, there’s no getting to the bottom of it, because fiction is a conspiracy of conspiracies, where a wizard, or a bunco man, always stands behind the curtain.

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